As an almost lifetime Windows user, I try my best to keep up with the latest operating systems. I started with Windows 98, ran through 2000, enjoyed XP for a long time, and then upgraded to Windows 7. When Windows 8 came out I did my best to ignore it. The Windows 8 interface was clunky, tricky and problematic. I watched a lot of friends struggle with it, and decided to keep Windows 7. Now that Windows 10 is finally out, I find myself wondering is the upgrade really worth it, or should I keep Windows 7?
I can think of one advantage for a lot of Windows 7 users. Microsoft is offering the upgrade to Windows 10 free for a limited time. After that it will cost you. So if you like free things this might be a good time to take advantage of the upgrade. Another important reason to upgrade is support. Microsoft is famous for dropping support for previous Windows versions when the newest ones come out. This will happen with Windows 7 soon enough, and unless you are a computer whiz you don’t want to be left without technical support.
Another good reason to make the switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is the improvements in performance. Windows 10 will improve several areas of your computer’s performance, like boot time, and gaming performance. Windows 10 has Direct X 12, while Windows 7 users are stuck with Direct X 11. Windows 10 also offers some improvement in the areas of power management, and hardware acceleration, which means you can stay on longer, and it won’t beat on your machine or phone if you do.
There are some other great performance improvements as well. Anyone who has ever tried to find files in Windows Explorer with Windows 7 knows it can be a pain. Windows 10 makes that easier with improvements on some things they tried to introduce with Windows 8. The Share ribbon makes it easier to move files from one place to another, and also makes it easier to add files to things like Skype and Outlook. Windows 10 has also brought back the Up button, which a lot of people loved and missed when it wasn’t included with Windows 7. All the buttons are up in the top ribbon which makes them easier to find when you need them.
Those people who have multiple monitors hooked up to their home computer will be happy to learn that Windows 10 has made some improvements on dual screen performance. Sure you can do dual screen with windows 7, but you can only use one background for each screen, and you can’t split certain tasks like slideshows between screens. With Windows 10 splitting things up is now a lot easier, and you can put whatever background you like on each of your displays individually.
Windows 10 has some exciting new features that could make the switch worth your time. With Windows 10 Microsoft has introduced Continuum. Continuum makes it possible for you to run the same version of Windows on all of your computing devices including laptops and smart phones. This is kind of like the one that Apple came out with earlier, but since a lot of Windows users avoid Apple like the plague we are all happy to see this come out in Windows.
And of course we can’t talk about Windows 10 without mentioning Cortana. Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Siri. But Cortana is bigger, better and smarter. It does a lot more than Siri does. It can help you organize and find files when you need them. It can help you keep track of appointments on your calendar, and it also improves the search experience by doing it for you. You just type or tell Cortana what you are looking for and it finds it. (Since it’s an app and not a person, I am not going to use the word “she” to describe Cortana.) You can type to access Cortana, or if your computer has a microphone, you can talk to Cortana. The Cortana app also “learns” about you as you use it. It’s easier to use because you don’t have to go through a list of commands to access it, you can use your normal voice as long as it can be picked up by the microphone. You can also ask Cortana questions, and it will find the answers for you if they can be found by searching on the internet.
Well after the big disappointment that was Windows 8, the people at Microsoft have saved some face with Windows 10. Some people might not like the fact that they look a lot alike, but all the other good things certainly outweigh cosmetic concerns. Windows 10 has retained some of the “flat” look that they introduced with Windows 8, although they did get rid of the garish colors. After a lot of research this author is going to go as far as to recommend you try Windows 10 for yourself. It’s still free until July of 2016, so what do you really have to lose?